It's been three months since we moved to Richmond from the yuppy playgrounds of the DC Metro (Virginia side, represent!) and in this time, it's been made painfully obvious that we are definitely out of our comfort zone. While, I guess, techincally DC is below the Mason Dixon line, it always seemed more Yankee than Dixie. It was an eclectic mix of the young professionals walking their dogs holding little plastic baggies and foreign cab drivers, who would gladly run you over if it meant they got a better tip for being speedy. The pace was fast and you would get run down if you didn't move at the speed of the city. Richmond........yeah, not so much.
Here, people like to talk to their neighbors. When I first drove down here to get the keys, several of our soon to be neighbors were incredibly welcoming and introduced themselves. I lived in Alexandria for 4 years and I didn't know any of my neighbors. Which was probably a good thing since I called the police on them regularly. I didn't realize I had that many neighbors until an INS agent would show up in the building and people materialized out of the walls like roaches and ran. (Full Disclosure- I laughed my ass off every time). I did talk to one or two over the years but none I would actually want to hang out with in their apartment or have in mine. Understandably, I was quite confused when people spoke to me here. I actually looked around to see if anyone else was standing behind me because it was so disconcerting.'
It's not just the neighbors who talk. Every store you go to, cashiers talk to everyone around them. They will even greet friends and have a conversation while ringing you up. This actually happened at the Petco yesterday and I went to the manager and complained.I've noticed this trend at a lot of stores I go to here. Everyone likes to talk. Where I come from, you don't talk to anyone but the person you are waiting on. This is proper etiquette for a cashier. I know this. I got written up at Meijer quite a few times for saying hi to people not in my lane. You don't do it. This must be a northern mentality because down here, you're armless when you leave a store because it has literally been talked off. I however, leave irritated because I have stuff I need to do and I don't feel like talking to these people.(wow, I'm kind of a Midwestern bitch) This leads me to another thing I've noticed about the former Capital of the Confederate States: Everyone takes their sweet ass time.
I'm always in a hurry. I walk fast, talk fast and drive fast. I'm blunt and cut people off when they start to venture off their point because I'm busy and I have stuff to do. Up North, I was among my brothers and sisters. People in DC were always rushing. If you were sitting at a red light, the person behind you was honking their horn a second before the light was going to turn green and you definitely made sure you went because they would probably ram their car right up your ass if you delayed hitting the gas. When I worked in DC, everyone was walking as fast as possible with their blackberries glued to one hand and swigging a coffee in the other. The pace was quick and I liked it. Haha! Not in Richmond. People drive slow, walk slow and some even talk slow. It has been a severe learning curve to adjust to this pace. Working in construction at this speed, takes even more patience: A virtue that anyone who knows me, knows I lack. It's the way of life down here. It is one of things I loved about the South, when I was visited. Living here, it is going to take time to find that love again.
People have no shame down here. Especially when it comes to Christmas. I have seen cars with Reindeer antlers, bows, wreaths and lights-magnetic AND string. Christmas displays are over the top and tacky and I frakking love it! It makes me wish I owned a house so that I could join them in their tackiness with a gaudy display of my own. (someday..someday)When walking around any store, it is not unusual to see "Walcreatures" proudly strutting down the aisle in the crazy get up they have decided on for the day. Another interesting thing about having no shame: People are not afraid to spank their children right in the middle of store. They keep screaming and the parent keeps threatening. This makes my heart happy. Disipline still exists. God Bless Dixie.
As for the city itself, I sadly can't speak much about it. I haven't had the time to go out and explore the many cultural and historical treats that River City offers. They are on the list. I will have plenty of free time in the Spring now (I'm incredibly sad at this fact) so I'm sure I can start crossing some things off. I have seen sights in passing as I'm driving from one Construction site to another, but I haven't had the chance to stop or slow down and take it all in. I'm always in a hurry, you know.Maybe, I need to stop, breathe and reboot.
Perhaps, I should try to get in touch with my inner Scarlet. I'm sure she is somewhere inside this Yankee Michigander. But, first....need to go stick some Antlers on my car.